Each week Ruth Ayres extends an invitation to share the celebrations from our week. Why don't you join the celebration?
Today I celebrate One Book, One District, One Community, a project I have been working on since the beginning of the school year. The project revolved around the book Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.
With the help of community sponsors and our school corporation administrators, we were able to purchase over 1,400 books. Each student in our four elementary schools received their own copy. Third through fourth grade received the novel, and our pre-school through second grade received the picture book, We Are All Wonders.
Teachers have been reading the book this month and participating in kindness activities. Today was "Distribution Day," the day the students received their copy of the books. I had the privilege to be at all four schools and to watch the magic.
What a day for celebration!
The smiles on their faces when they carefully held these books in their hands was pure joy. Many of them sat right down and began turning the pages or tried to find the spot where their teacher was reading.
At one school, I knelt down and talked with a few of the students as their teachers were passing out the books. Here are some of their reactions:
"Is this book really mine?"
"Do we get to take these home?
"Now I can read ahead of my teacher...but I won't tell what happens."
"I can't wait to take this home and read it to my mom."
The little girl in the pink jacket looked up at me and was the first one to say, "Thank you." My heart melted because I could tell by her sweet little face that her thank you was so sincere.
As literacy teachers, we spend our days building reading communities, showing our students the importance of having a reading life, and hoping that we somehow provide the spark that ignites their love of reading.
Our students won't look back and remember our most engaging lesson, or a grammar worksheet they mastered, or a standardized test prep packet.
Our hope is that for the short time we have them in our classrooms, we create reading memories. That we read aloud a book that changes them. That we place a book in their hands that teaches them empathy, or that becomes a mirror where they see themselves, or that gives them hope.
We want them to look back and say, "Remember that time when we read..." We want to be memory makers because...
Reading memories trigger reading lives.
(Click to tweet.)
(Click to tweet.)
And that is what today was all about.